Category Archives: Last Weeks's Teaching

The Hurting Church: Why we get hurt and hurt others in the church

The hurting church is not an occasional dilemma.

More and more often we find people who have been hurt deeply within the family of God, leaving them worn and exhausted. More and more often we find leaders in conflict within the body of believers, robbed of the joy Jesus promised in Him. When we find this hurt hanging on to our own bruised soul, it can make us want to leave the church and sometimes even want to “back burner” our God who seems to have allowed it all.

Sadly, we have come to accept that this is the way church is. There is an epidemic of fractured believers out there and we have actually come to accept this as the norm. So we either stay away and let our hearts become cold … or we put on our Sunday best, call “forward march” and implement a new vision or program and hope the problems will just go away. The hurt in individual hearts and churches gets buried … until it gets bumped again.

Can we break this cycle that happens over and over in heart after heart and church after church?

I am continually amazed at the simplicity of God’s Word and the direct instructions He shares with us. The Father’s heart toward us, His children, is so open and loving as He instructs us in living in the day-to-day challenges of rubbing shoulders where the rubber meets the road.

The steps God gives us are simple, though not necessarily easy. They are steps that can help us move from being reactive in conflict to becoming proactive in guarding our hearts and our churches. And, as steps always do, they will take us to higher ground where we can live above disunity and confusion.

The framework these steps are built on is love. Love is also the handrail that helps move us along from one step to another. Without love, the steps move us from the fulfillment of right living that God calls us to, to self- righteous living, which is hollow and void of the power of the Holy Spirit. God says our trademark will be love. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Step 1: Know your enemy

We don’t like to focus on the devil. We don’t want to give him any glory. Yet, in failing to heed the warning of Scripture that the devil actually “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), we find ourselves consumed (“devoured”!) by all kinds of irritations in one another and in the church.

How the new programs run, personalities of the leaders, worship styles that become the focus and the quarrel, people who “just don’t get it” spiritually the way we do, all begin to rob us of our joy and steal our effectiveness as a body of believers. And we are so often oblivious to what is really going on in the spiritual realm. Scripture says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers…” (Ephesians 6:12). When in conflict with another believer, we need to ask ourselves the question, “Am I wrestling against flesh and blood?”

The answer in these situations is usually “yes.” And the solution is so simple we miss it. As Christians we are in a wrestling match. But our opponent is in the spiritual realm. His mandate is to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10). Instead of recognizing that, we put on the gloves and begin to engage in battle with one another, leaving scratches and scars, bruises and bleeding that sometimes takes years to heal and always leaves a mark. And the trademark of love becomes so faint, onlookers can hardly see it.

Scripture tells us to “be alert”, “resist the enemy” (1Peter 5:8,9) be on your guard and “stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). So when irritation strikes … know immediately who your opponent is … know immediately he has schemes and plans in place that will at best steal from you and at worst destroy God’s people and their effectiveness.

Any pervasive, downward spiral needs to be called what it is. Be alert to the red flags. Our human nature wants to defend and justify ourselves. God knows the propensity of our hearts to go their own way. That is why He calls us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and to do good to those who spitefully use us (Luke 6:27). (The trademark of love, remember?) Only the “God strength” in our lives, His strength invited in at our point of weakness and frustration, can remedy this battle that is fought in the heavenlies, yet lived out in our churches.

“Be alert and always keep on praying” (Ephesians 6:18) When prayer is no longer the oxygen of our spiritual soul or the heartbeat of our church, our defense is down. Praying for those who hurt us becomes something we don’t even want to do. Neglect in prayer and in the spiritual training of the Word leaves us with open doors for the enemy to turn the wrestling match on one another. It is so subtle and we can feel so justified, but the loss in our own hearts and in the Kingdom is an unnecessary tragedy. The stealing and robbing is done long before we have even recognized the enemy was at the door. Knowing he is prowling the neighborhood keeps us in a proactive state and able to recognize and withstand his tactics.

Step 2: Keep short accounts

The simple truth of the Word of God in the instruction from Paul to “not let the sun go down on your anger” is so profoundly elementary that we miss it.

The Bible often uses the picture of seeds and reaping and sowing. Seeds of irritations and annoyances, not plucked out and dealt with on a daily basis, grow in our hearts. When they are not dealt with as soon as we recognize them, they take root and each subsequent encounter with that same irritation, which will always be linked to some person, will cause that root to dig just a little deeper. The deeper it goes, the more bitter it gets.

Scripture tells us “a root of bitterness springs up and defiles many” (Hebrews 12:15). When it finally spills out, or spits up, it defiles us and those around, and hurt is the result. When our own bitter roots spit up we hurt others. That is why Proverbs 4:23 tells us “above all else guard your heart for it is the well spring of life.” It is the very source of all we are. What is in our heart spills out of our mouth (Matthew 12:34), and it is by our very words that we often grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:29, 30), and love goes out the window. The trademark that identified us as His disciples vanishes and the world looking on can see no difference in us.

So guard your heart. Take stock every day. Holiness is really just truth in the inner part. Keep short accounts for your own heart’s sake.

If the root is only just beginning in your own heart and still undetected by others, go to God and ask for its removal. You know when it is there. Ask for grace to be poured out in your heart so that you will have all the grace you need to deal with that particular situation and person. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things and at all times having all that you need you will abound in every good work.” If the root has already spilled out and hurt others, go and confess to them. Even if they do not receive you or do not own their part of the conflict, keep your own heart guarded and clean. You are only responsible for one heart. Unresolved conflict in the heart of another is God’s job to deal with.

The presence of God in a life and the degree of truth that is allowed in the inner part will be evident in the fruit of our lives. Watch the fruit in your own life and in the lives of others. The fruit gives us away (Matthew 7:20). If you have owned your part in a conflict and others refuse to do the same, give them grace, pray for them, and if necessary, distance yourself from the overflow of their bitter root until they allow God to do healing in their heart.

Always be alert to the seeds that you allow in your heart. They all eventually produce fruit of one kind or another. List the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness/humility, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22). Ask yourself the simple question: “What fruit of the Spirit is in short supply in my life right now?”

Then take an honest look at the seeds that may have begun to take root in your heart.

Step 3: Don’t be afraid of accountability

It seems we have come to allow gossip, slander and anger to simply be overlooked and rationalized in our churches. We excuse the fractures among believers by telling ourselves that God is purging our church, He is bringing justice. We stand up and glibly say, “God is in control,” while heads roll and tears fall and tender spirits get bruised and crushed. We forget that God gives us a choice in how we deal with matters and that the enemy is alive and well, attempting to influence those choices. We forget that for God to be in control of the moment, the conversation or the situation, we need to say “yes” to Him in allowing His Spirit to work in us and through us. Psalm 15 depicts the marks of an authentic Christian. It says, “He casts no slur on his fellowman…. but honors those who fear the Lord.” In any given troubling situation we need to honestly ask ourselves, “Am I making choices that allow God to be in control here or am I taking control?”

Proverbs 3: 5, 6 tells us to “trust in the Lord with your whole heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” If your own understanding is resulting in opinions and actions that bring division, be accountable for what is going on in your own heart.

God speaks harshly about the one who promotes division (Titus 3:10). If you are prompted to speak to one who is causing division, remember the trademark and go in love and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be afraid to call or be called to accountability. We can run to God, our help. God is sovereign and He is the great redeemer. No matter how bad a situation is, if He is invited in, at any point, He will come in and redeem the situation, work things out for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28) and put a derailed train back on the tracks.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked (selfish) ways, then I will heal their land” (their church, their heart). It’s a sure promise!

Step 4: Acknowledge pride

Scripture says, “God resists, or opposes, the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride is a killer. It is one of the subtlest tools of the enemy. God actually resists the proud! Who would want to be opposed by God! Yet in the church we often do find pride, but it wears a different cloak than it does out in the world.

In Christian circles we know that pride in our position and possessions is not a godly thing. We scorn openly the pursuit of “fame and fortune” alone. Yet pride exists in our hearts and in our churches in two prominent ways that we often try to justify.

  • There is pride in standing for a “principle of righteousness” while walking away from reconciliation. Making such a stand is not wrong in itself; however it is very often accompanied by a lack of grace and a spiritual superiority that cuts off the Spirit of God from working in a situation. If you are ever tempted to “stand for righteousness” against another Christian brother or sister, check if your trademark of love is visible, make sure your heart is clean in all the secret places and that you have done all you can to live at peace (Romans 12:18). If the basis for your stand is your own pride be very careful, for God does resist the proud.
  • The second place pride plays a major role in the church is in the area of spiritual gifts. You may have a discerning heart or a prophetic gifting. God may reveal truth to you in a situation or even in the life of another. Again, be very careful. God calls us first to prayer and often, to nothing more. If words are to be spoken God will clearly reveal that, but the first task is to obey the call to prayer.

Much damage has been done in the church when someone feels they have received a word from God and simply talks, rather than prays, about it. If you think you sense something pray, pray, pray and God will reveal if there is anything else He requires. God’s whisper in our Spirit will never be in conflict with what He directs in His Word. When we speak in spiritual pride, the Spirit is grieved and we cut off that which God was at work doing in our lives and in the situation. (1 Corinthians 13) The simple question to ask before opening your mouth is: “Will this lift Jesus higher or will this lift me higher?”

Be slow to speak, especially words that sow negative seeds about another, and be quick to listen. Ephesians 4:29, 30 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…”

Step 5: Be willing to plant stakes in the ground

When we recognize there has been hurt in our church, we must be willing to take a stand to say what will be different from this day forward. So often we experience hurt within the church walls and we retreat for a while, only to return to find a new vision or a new program and a turning of the page to “forward march” and “forgetting what is behind” without ever acknowledging why we got to the hurtful point we did.

If there is one thing we have learned throughout history, it is that history repeats itself. Struggles with pride and accountability, with tending the seeds of our heart and not recognizing our enemy are day-to-day struggles.

Unless we recognize where we have been in hurting times and plant some stakes that serve as markers to check us when we tend to spiral into the same patterns, we have not taken the opportunity to mature and move ahead in our journey with God as a church. Ask yourself: “Am I willing to acknowledge my part and take steps to prevent a repeat?”

When conflict threatens your heart and your church, as it always will, seek first to be intentional about raising the prayer banner in your life and in your church. This invites the Spirit of God to be at work in the lives of those involved and minimizes our tendency to lean on our own understanding. It moves us toward recognizing afresh our utter dependence on God and God alone is the hope of the hurting church.

If you are part of a church that is experiencing hurt and conflict, confusion and disorder, God gives a measuring stick to determine what value system is at work.

James 3: 13-17 talks about two kinds of wisdom, one, which does not come from heaven, and one that does. The one not based on heavenly values is centered on earthly, unspiritual values with envy and selfish ambition at the core. Not hard to spot. The trademark of love will be missing as well.

The wisdom based on heavenly values will be pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

This higher value system can be reached by applying these five steps based on the foundation of love – love that comes from the heart of the Father to our own individual heart. Then the world will see our trademark and glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Tend your heart wisely! The state of your soul, the health of your church and the world that is watching depends on it.

Salvation is for eternity.

I read about this Professor who was the pioneer of heart transplant surgery, talking about his successes. He remarked, with obvious satisfaction, that some of his patients lived for a further eighteen months, and one had even survived for three years. He was thrilled to have saved a person’s life for eighteen months or three years.

But when Gods saves he saves for eternity: totally, and permanently. And that must include holiness: ‘You shall be perfect, as my Father in heaven is perfect.’ God has never done anything by halves. Salvation is forever, or it is not salvation at all.

There are two final comments I would like to make about salvation. The first is that it is a process, not a crisis. Salvation is continuous, and the process is not yet complete in any of us. If I am asked, ‘Are you saved?’ the answer is, ‘I am being saved’—I am in the process of salvation. The important question is where am I in the process? And am I making progress, or standing still?

The other comment is that salvation, although it is a process, is not mechanical. It is not like an assembly line. Salvation is personal because it is a Person. It involves recognition of sin, repentance, grace, faith, assurance, holiness and it lasts forever. But it all centers in a Person, and without him it is nothing. Salvation, in one word, is Jesus.

Psalms 102:12
But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
Psalms 93:2
Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Acts 15:18
“Known to God from eternity are all His works.

Isaiah 57:15
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Salvation is to holiness.

Salvation is not only ‘from’ sin, but ‘to’ holiness. In other words, it is not simply a negative exercise. The Bible talks about being ‘saved to the uttermost’, but very often preachers interpret that as though it meant ‘from the guttermost’. We are saved for a purpose, a destiny: and that destiny is holiness.

It is a sobering thought that we are as holy as we want to be, no more and no less. I do not believe that there is a ‘package deal’ in holiness, to be received once and for all, perhaps at a convention, and then forgotten. Holiness is a moment by moment relationship with God, not a static thing.

Nevertheless, I know that there are occasions when one has been filled with the Spirit and holiness no longer seems an unattainable, distant ideal, but a present reality. At such times one has known that it is possible not to sin; indeed, it would be impossible, so real and intense is the presence of God. It is God’s will that should become our normal, day-by-day experience.

Holiness is not the same as happiness. In fact, sometimes unhappy experiences can lead us into happiness. Sometimes he chastises us to lead us into holiness. Sickness, pain, disappointment may do for us what prosperity and ease can never achieve, and help to make us holy.
Holiness (Necessary for Salvation)

Exodus 15:11
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Exodus 28:36
And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

1 Chronicles 16:29
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

2 Chronicles 20:21
And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalms 30:4
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Psalms 93:5
Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.

Romans 6:22
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Ephesians 4:24
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

Salvation is with assurance.

It is God’s will that you should know you are his. When people ask ‘Are you saved?’ he does not expect his children to answer, ‘I hope so’, ‘I’m trying’ or I’d like to think I am.’ He wants us to be sure of it, not with arrogance but with faith; not sure of ourselves, but sure of him and his promises.

This assurance comes through his word of promise at first, but it also, and perhaps more profoundly, comes from our consciences, as they begin to assure us that at last we are free of this destructive thing called sin, that there is a charge in our manner of life, and that we are children of God. Above all God wants to plant in our hearts the power of his Holy Spirit. It is by this gift that his children can call him ‘Father.’ After all, it is the birthright of children, and he intends it for us.

There are people who believe in God and trust in Christ. Through faith they have received the grace of salvation. But they still lack assurance. They worry and fret about their standing before God, and so their testimony is weakened. For such people the great need is to ask God to take them one step further, to pour his Holy Spirit into their hearts to bear witness to the fact that they are children of God, bound for heaven.

Assurance (Necessary for Salvation)

Deuteronomy 28:66
And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:

Isaiah 32:17
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Acts 17:31
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Colossians 2:2
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

1 Thessalonians 1:5
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Hebrews 6:11
And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

Hebrews 10:9
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Salvation is through faith.

Prepositions can e crucial, and they are in discussing salvation. It is by grace, through faith. Faith is only the link; grace provides the power. So—what is faith? The first thing to establish is that it is not a matter of feeling. Martin Luther once said, ‘I do not feel that my sins are forgiven, but I know they are because God has said so in his Word.’ Faith is not feeling, although wonderful feelings may follow faith in Christ. In a sense, when the Holy Spirit takes hold of a person he releases his feelings in a new way, freeing him from inhibitions that have been bottled up before, and prevented him from experiencing love, joy and peace. But it is not the feeling that is the faith; the faith creates the feeling.

Nor is faith primarily a matter of thought. Thought is involved of course. There is a certain minimum intellectual content necessary for faith: the deity of Jesus for instance, his death and his resurrection. But if you recite the Creed and say ‘believe all of that with my mind’ you are ‘believing’ no more than the demons…and they do a bit more, the Bible tells us: the thought of it makes them ‘tremble.’

So, what is faith? Faith is to take those truths and apply them personally: to say, ‘Jesus died for me—rose for me—and is coming back for me.’ The devils cannot share that belief, that kind of faith.

Faith is, in a sense, an act of trust in which the believer takes his life and puts it into the hands of Christ. It is a daily thing—committing myself into the hands of another. In ordinary life we do it all the time—every time we board an airplane or a bus, every time we put ourselves into the hands of a surgeon. Faith is just that putting my ruined life into the hands of Jesus and giving him responsibility from that point on.

Faith (Necessary for Salvation)

Genesis 22:3
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Psalms 6:8
Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.

Psalms 7:10
My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.

Psalms 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Matthew 8:10
When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Matthew 9:22
But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Luke 5:20
And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

Luke 7:50
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Acts 6:8
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Salvation is by grace.

A man once said, ‘It took me forty-three years to discover three things. Firs, that I could do nothing to save myself. Second, that God did not require me to do anything. Third, that Christ had done it all,’

By nature human beings are suspicious of anything that is offered free of charge. I read a story of a very wealthy man who stood in front of his house trying to give away hundred dollar bills. He found hardly any takers. Most people avoided him, or moved away. They could not believe that there was no trick in it.

It may be that we are to proud to accept ‘charity’, or afraid of hidden ‘strings’, but this suspicion and distrust is a terrible barrier. Old people refuse to seek financial help from the social services. Others in all kinds of need are reluctant to ask for what is freely offered, often because of pride: ‘I’ve always stood on my own feet, and I’m not going begging now.’

That is one reason why it is so hard for people to accept God’s grace, for grace means two simple things: bad deeds are no hindrance, and good deeds are no help when you come to God for salvation.

It does not matter what dreadful things you may have done in the past. They cannot put you beyond redemption. And it does not matter what good deeds you may have done in the past either. They cannot save you. Indeed, they may be a hindrance, if you come to God not empty-handed (as he requires) but with one hand full of your own goodness. It takes both hands empty to receive grace. As one song put it:

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.

Salvation is ‘by grace’. It may take us a whole lifetime of struggling before we realize that there is no salvation that way, and learn that there is nothing a man can do to save himself. God requires nothing of us; Christ has done it all.

Biblical Accounts of God’s Grace!

Psalms 84:11
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Proverbs 3:34
He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.

Joel 2:13
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Luke 2:40
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 7:42
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

John 1:16
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

Grace (Necessary for Salvation)
Acts 15:11
No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Romans 3:24
and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:15
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

Ephesians 2:5
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.

2 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

Hebrews 13:9
Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

Salvation is after repentance

What is ‘repentance’? We covered this in depth last week (see last week’s teaching), but I want to expound on it. Does it mean sorry —desperately sorry, perhaps —for what we have done? That is remorse, and it is a commendable feeling, but it is not repentance. Most of us are sorry about consequences of our sin: the punishment, the damaged relationships, the recriminations and the scandal. Repentance, as a schoolboy once said, is being sorry enough to stop. Martin Luther put it slightly more theologically: ‘the truest repentance is to do it no more’. A well-known evangelist used to make his appeal at the end of a meeting in these terms: ‘Don’t come out to the front to accept the Savior unless you’re prepared to leave your sins on your seat.

That is what repentance is all about: being willing to let our sins go. It shows we really want to be saved. What is quite impossible is to have our sins and have salvation. The two are mutually exclusive.

Take a moment to meditate on these verses and see it God speaks to you.

Biblical Accounts of Sin!

Matthew 18
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Have you forgiven or do you need forgiving?

John 1
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Have you allowed Jesus to remove your sin?

John 5
14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. Are things getting worse? You still sinning? Yes you!

John 5
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Are you still pointing the finger, instead of dealing with you own sin?

John 8
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. Who is really your master?

John 9
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? It’s not even about you! Are you stopping God’s work from manifesting because you won’t deal with the sin?

Salvation is from sin

We have all got troubles. Indeed, sometimes one begins to think there is nothing but trouble in this world. Over the years I have become more aware of people and their problems and troubles. Loneliness, fear, boredom, ignorance, poverty, egos, pride, selfness, hypocrisy —troubles abound; but what are the problems and troubles?

What is the cause of it all? SIN! That is God’s explanation of all our troubles. If you are coming to God to get all the others troubles sorted out, but do not bring him this one, you are unlikely to find a real solution. We present our problems, but God’s diagnosis is that the root problem, the heart of the disease, sin. Sin numbs our ‘spiritual nerves’ so that we do not feel acutely the evil of sin, nor the presence of God all around. We become spiritual insensitive.

When we come to God with our day-to-day troubles and problems, I believe he wants to deal first with the root of all our troubles, sin. That is the deadly disease, of which all our other problems are merely the symptoms.

That is why sin is such a deadly disease. It is not just a question of wrong things we do—the breaking of God’s laws. It goes much deeper. It is what we are, inherited from out parents and their parents before them … a congenital disease. And it is a progressive disease, too, steadily eroding our God-given facilities, blinding us to truth and goodness, until finally we are spiritually dead, no longer able to relate or respond to God at all, or even to goodness. It is from that fate, which Jesus describes as ‘hell’, that we need saving from experiencing love, joy and peace. But it is not the feeling that is the faith; the faith creates the feeling.

Nor is faith primarily a matter of thought. Thought is involved of course. There is a certain minimum intellectual content necessary for faith: the deity of Jesus for instance, his death and resurrection. But if you recite the Creed and say ‘I believe all of that with my mind’ you are ‘believing’ no more than the demons…and they do a bit more, the Bible tells us: the thought of it makes them ‘tremble’.

So, what is faith? Faith is to take those truths and apply them personally: to say, ‘Jesus died for me — rose for me — and is coming back for me.’ The devil cannot share that belief, that kind of faith.

Faith is, in a sense, an act of trust in which the believer takes his life and puts it into the hands of Christ. It is a daily thing—committing myself into the hands of another. In ordinary life we do this all the time—every time we board an airplane or bus, every time we put ourselves into the hands of a surgeon. Faith is just that: putting my ruined life into the hands of Jesus and giving him responsibility from that point on.

According to the definition of most Christians and religious institution the ‘devil’ is a ‘Christian’. People are told just to believe in God and everything will be alright. The bibles say, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble”! James 2:19 What are you doing more than the ‘devil’?

If you are saved from your sin why are you still walking in it? You may not be gay, but you are a liar! You may not be a murderer, but you are a gossiper! You may not be an adulator, but you are vindictive!!!…etc!!!!

Salvation is from sin! Not a reason to continue sin!

What Does ‘Saved’ Mean?

A swimmer gets into difficulties several hundred yards from the beach. His struggles are noticed by an alert life-guard, who dashes out into the surf and swims powerfully to the spot where he last saw the drowning man. By now he has stopped struggling. He is lying just below the surface motionless. The life guard pulls him to shore, and begins mouth to mouth resuscitation. Half an hour later the first breath of life animates the man’s chest. He is alive. He has been saved.

In situations such as this it is natural to use the word ‘saved’. Someone was in peril, at the point of death. And by the efforts of a third party they were rescued from their plight…saved. Yet when we use the same verb in talking of religious experience, or ask ‘Are you saved?’ it seems in some way artificial. After all, these pleasant, respectable, law-abiding people in the pews—where is the need for them to be ‘saved’? The word seems too stark, too extreme.

And so does the word ‘salvation’, which has the same root with such words as safe, saved and salvage. It is a very ‘big’ word, with many shades of meaning, and it is at the very heart of what we believe. So we are going to examine seven factors involved in ‘salvation’, in ‘being saved’.

1. Salvation is from sin.

2. Salvation is after repentance.

3. Salvation is by grace.

4. Salvation is through faith.

5. Salvation is with assurance.

6. Salvation is to holiness.

7. Salvation is for eternity.

Salvation (or Save)
The most common words for the process by which God fits someone for heaven are salvation or being saved. As Earl Radmacher notes,

The word salvation has its root in the Hebrew word yasa, {meaning} “to be wide or roomy” in contract to “narrow or restricted.” Thus words such as liberation, emancipation, preservation, protection, and security grow out of it. It refers to delivering a person or group of people from distress or danger, from a “restricted” condition in which they are unable to help themselves.

The Greek nouns for salvation are soteria and soterion; the adjective is soterios, from which we derive the word soteriology. The meaning of soteria and soterion is “deliverance”, “preservation,” or “salvation.” Salvation is often used of physical deliverance (Luke 1:69, 71; Acts 7:25; 27:37), such as Paul’s desire to be delivered or released from prison: “I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (Phil. 1:19).
Spiritually, salvation refers to the process by which God, through the work of Christ, delivers sinners from the prison of sin. Paul declared, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16; Eph. 1:13). He later says, “It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Rom. 10:10). Peter announced: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to man by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Salvation is a broad term that encompasses three stages: Salvation from the past penalty of sin, from the present power of sin, from the future presence of sin. These are often called, respectively, , and glorification. So we are going to examine three stages involved in ‘salvation’, in ‘being saved’.
1. Salvation from the Penalty of Sin (Justification)

2. Salvation from the Power of Sin (Sanctification)

3. Salvation from the Presence of Sin (Glorification)

As we continue this week in our studies we are going to look closely to what the Word of God says about salvation. Now that we understand what God expects of us through repentance we can move into salvation. As I dig into the Word, take time to study yourself. My study results will be posted randomly the next two weeks. This lesson will be for the week of the 22nd.

%d bloggers like this: